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Yee Sang At Esquire Kitchen Mid Valley Megamall

February 8th, 2010 - Monday

We were at Mid Valley Megamall for our weekly grocery shopping last Saturday. As usual, we would be at a lost when it comes to eating there. It was not that we did not know what we wanted to eat. Rather, we had eaten most of the food the shopping mall had to offer and wanted something different for a change.

Yee Sang from Esquire Kitchen Mid Valley Megamall
Yee Sang from Esquire Kitchen Mid Valley Megamall.

We still could not think of any place to have our dinner after throwing the same question back and forth. When that happens, our option would be to eat at one of our regular Chinese restaurants. Esquire Kitchen is top in the list. Most of the time, we would order one serving of chicken, two bowls of rice and a small bowl of double boiled soup.

Yee Sang from Esquire Kitchen Mid Valley Megamall
Yee Sang from Esquire Kitchen Mid Valley Megamall.

We had yee sang instead. The full portion is RM38. We ordered half portion for RM28. Even then, it was too much for the two of us. I think that somewhat killed our appetite for yee sang. Wuan explicitly forbade me from ordering any more yee sang the next time we eat out. Chinese New Year is not here yet and we already have eaten this dish twice but I am sure we will be enjoying a few more servings of yee sang soon in spite of that.


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Year Of The Cat At 1 Utama 2010

January 27th, 2010 - Wednesday

The theme for Chinese New Year at 1 Utama Shopping Centre is cats, not just any cat but the famous Maneki Neko from Japan. Wait a minute! There is no cat in the Chinese zodiac. There is a tiger but are they the same? Nevermind that. Being cat persons and being collectors of the Maneki Neko figurines, Wuan and I had fun taking photographs of these giant feline sculptures at the Oval of 1 Utama.

One of the Maneki Neko greeting shoppers at 1 Utama
One of the Maneki Neko greeting shoppers at 1 Utama.

Close up of the Maneki Neko trio at 1 Utama
Close up of the Maneki Neko trio at 1 Utama.

View of the Maneki Neko from the ground floor at Oval 1 Utama
View of the Maneki Neko from the ground floor at Oval 1 Utama.

Peter Tan posing in front of the Maneki Neko at ground floor facing the Oval 1 Utama
Peter Tan posing in front of the Maneki Neko at ground floor facing the Oval 1 Utama.
Photo by Wuan.


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My Disappearing Festive Traditions

January 26th, 2010 - Tuesday

The march of commercialism is slowly changing the traditions that are passed down from generation to generation. Food that used to be served only during festivals are now readily available long before the occasion or even throughout the year. When I was a kid, Mum would make kuih bahulu just before Chinese New Year together with kuih kapit and kuih bangkit. Walk into any major shopping complex on any given day now and one would be greeted by stalls selling kuih bahulu freshly baked from the oven with the unmistakeable saliva-inducing aroma.

Festivals have lost some of their glamour not only because delicacies associated with them are no longer exclusive. It is the lack of busyness, anticipation and preparations leading up to the festival. The air of festivity was already felt weeks prior to the day proper but not as much anymore now. The once-a-year rite of changing the curtains to the ones used exclusively for the Chinese New Year; the making of paper cuttings to paste on gifts to friends and relatives, mostly on cookie containers and mandarin oranges; the spring cleaning on a day selected to be auspicious for this activity with bamboo stalks fastened to a long bamboo pole; the overflowing of groceries in the larder, especially items like dried shiitake mushrooms, fish maw, canned mushrooms and baby corns; some of these have disappeared completely from my life.

On one part, I lament at the loss of anticipation and excitement for the impending festive season I had experienced as a kid. On the other, I am glad to be still able to experience some of these traditions with Wuan and her side of the family. It is a good thing that Wuan still maintains some of these practices like sprucing up the house with auspicious decorative items, making sure that we shop for clothes to wear on Chinese New Year and generally trying to infect me with the excitement as the day draws nearer. For the past couple of years since we got married, I have been celebrating the the Chinese New Year, especially the “tuen nin fun” (reunion dinner) and “hoi nin fun” (new year lunch), in her hometown with her family. I am glad for these little blessings that still exist in my life. They are all I have left and I am going to savour these moments for as long as I can.


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